Francesco Molinari pays tribute to his golfing idol Costantino Rocca

Francesco Molinari became Italy’s first major champion

Rather than going into his shell as he did in the final pairing with eventual champion Patrick Reed at Augusta this year, he didn't let a frustrating front nine at Carnoustie - including two bogeys in the first five holes - crush his spirit.

McIlroy's first birdie had come at the 296-yard 15th, where he drove into a greenside bunker and splashed out to six feet, but a bogey three holes from home dropped him back to seven under. Either that, or they're a little bit over-served (with drink). It might not happen at next month's PGA Championship, and it might not happen next year at two of his cherished arenas, the Masters at Augusta National, and the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, but ESPN thinks it will eventually happen.

"Maybe there wasn't quite as much drama at the end, but there were a lot of players close to the lead with a chance and I was very proud to handle myself the way I did and to come out on top".

Defending champion Jordan Spieth went into the final round tied for the lead with Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, but stumbled to the turn in 39 and Kisner managed one shot worse to throw the tournament wide open. "That was a real positive for me, and it renewed the love of the Open for me".

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But along the way, Woods gave us another vintage moment when he fired a shot into the gallery at the 11th hole ... and the ball somehow spanged rapidly back toward the hole.

Despite the pressure of playing alongside golf great Tiger Woods, who was himself in title contention, Molinari produced a brilliant final round of 69 to win the Open at the Carnoustie course in Scotland on Sunday.

"Not the Tiger that Phil (Mickelson) and Ernie (Els) and those guys had to deal with, " McIlroy said.

"The only way for me to get here is through the Senior Open because I'm not going to go through the qualifying stuff that I tried a few times when I was younger".

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"Tiger being back in the mix, everything, there were a lot of big names up there. I want to know where it is so I try to hold on to it as long as possible".

"He's like, 'He hasn't been in this position in 10 years, and you've been here how many times in the last three years?' He was throwing it back at me", Spieth said. A hangover can have catastrophic consequences for playing a very precise game like golf, so Pepperell's success was surprising.

"Today I did everything I thought I needed to do to win the championship", he said, adding that he expected a consolation phone call from tennis champion Serena Williams, who lost the Wimbledon final eight days ago.

"I got beaten up around here a few times already in the past", Molinari said.

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